'Cruel and inhumane': New York leaders slam federal judge's ruling to block abortion pill

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Sunday, April 9, 2023
Judge reverses FDA approval of abortion drug after 23 years
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U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled to suspend the FDA's approval of mifepristone. Morgan Norwood has the details.

New York political leaders slammed the decision by a federal judge in Texas to revoke the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the abortion drug mifepristone and vowed to keep abortion procedures accessible in their state.

"I want to be very clear: Regardless of today's ruling, abortion access and care is still available in New York," said New York Governor Kathy Hochul in a statement. "For anyone who needs care, our state will welcome you with open arms."

"Additionally, we are working with the federal government, governors, and partners across the country on solutions to prevent further infringement on care," the statement continued. "I have also asked the legislature to consider actions to protect other medication abortion, including misoprostol, during current budget negotiations."

The status of the pregnancy-ending drug was left up in the air on Friday after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, ruled to suspend access to it, despite regulators approving it for use over 20 years ago.

ALSO READ | Judge reverses FDA approval of abortion drug after 23 years

Mayor Eric Adams described the decision as "cruel and inhumane," and insisted that "our administration will fight every day to stop efforts to control women's bodies, their choices, and their freedoms."

New York State Attorney General Letitia James echoed that sentiment in a statement, stating: "The fight for reproductive justice is not over. New York will continue to do everything within its power to protect reproductive rights, because it should always be your body, and your choice."

In an interview with CNN, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared the ruling "an unprecedented and dramatic erosion of the legitimacy of the court."

"It is the justices themselves, through the deeply partisan and unfounded nature of these rulings, that are undermining their own enforcement," she added.

Taking to Twitter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote, "This ruling from an activist judge is wildly out of step with the law and sets a dangerous new precedent."

A short time after Kacsmaryk's ruling, a federal court in Washington blocked any attempt of "altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of mifepristone" in plaintiff states - not nationwide.

The Texas judge's decision sparked reactions from political leaders nationwide.

"This is a drug that the FDA approved as safe 20 years ago and had proven to be safe for 20 years," said Vice President Kamala Harris in a statement reacting to the decision. "So this is a dangerous precedent."

Within the next seven days, all eyes will be on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to see if they uphold the Texas ruling.

If the two federal orders remain in conflict, the issue will likely be expedited to go before the Supreme Court.

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